Friday, April 8, 2011

Students for Justice in Palestine: UC Berkeley's own foreign policy wing

I received an email announcement from SJP- Students for Justice in Palestine this week (They are jokingly called "Students for Just Us in Palestine" by nearly everyone on campus, though never to their face) Their list of endorsements for Student governmnet was interesting, in that not a single issue of relevance to campus was mentioned. (Student fee increase? Nah, who cares. Tuition hikes? Irrelevant. Two year wait lists for some pre-requisites? Humbug. System wide layoffs? Just not important. What an SJP student bases his or her vote on is Divestment from Israel.

The Student for Justice Divestment slate follows:
The international attention garnered by last year's divestment campaign would not have been possible without like-minded allies in the student government. We encourage all our members to vote in this year's ASUC elections (


This year, SJP member Nairi Shirinian #136 is running as an independent candidate for ASUC senate. She is a staunch ally of SJP, was a pivotal force behind divestment last year, and has been on SJP board for the past two years. She is being endorsed by the following pro-divestment student leaders:

Margaret Zhou - Board Member, Students for Justice in Palestine*

Waseem Salahi - ASUC Senator, 2010-present*

J.P. Shami - Former ASUC Senator, 2009-2010*

Jonathan Gaurano - Former ASUC Senator, 2009-2010*

Emily Carlton, Former ASUC Senator, 2009-2010; Squelch Party Chair*

Raymond Hajduk - Former President, 2010, Internal Vice President, 2009, Queer Community Development Manager, 2008, of the Queer Alliance Resource Center, No On 8 Volunteer Campaign Coordinator 2008, Yes On Equality Campus Director 2009-present, Youth Outreach Counselor 2009-Present*

Voting in ASUC senate elections is done by ranked-choice voting (you assign 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc. preferences to the candidates). Other candidates for senate include Sahar Pirzada (#129) and Shahryar Abbasi (#174), both prominent members of the Middle Eastern community.

In addition, the Calserve party, which is currently running a whole slate of senators, officially supports divestment.


President: Stefan Montouth, Independent (current CalServe senator)
External Affairs Vice President: Ratha Lai, Independent and BRIDGES multicultural center organizing director

The strategy of loading the deck is nothing new- it was carefully explained to those attending the Al Awda conference last years.

Its easy to see why so many students are cynical about student government at UC Berkeley.

Go Bears, and please, make the right choices

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